Concord Times (Freetown)

West Africa: ECOWAS Leaders Urged to Stop Drug, Substance Abuse

Lome — Renowned psychiatrist, physician and stress counsellor in West Africa, Professor Kalou S. Dassa has called on all Economic Community of West Africa States ECOWAS leaders to stamp their feet harder to stop the growing menace of drug and substance abuse in the region.

Prof. Dassa made the call during the ECOWAS workshop for regional media experts on the prevention of drug abuse, illicit drug trafficking and organized crime in West Africa as he presented a paper on Demand Reduction-Prevention and Treatment Intervention.

"ECOWAS leaders need to support any initiative that is aimed at stopping the growing menace of drug and substance abuse in the sub-region as drug use is a behavior whose outcome is multifactor," Prof. Dassa said adding that the most used products affecting the region are cannabis, alcohol, psychotropic drugs, cocaine opiates and others.

In his presentation on Demand Reduction-Prevention and Treatment Intervention, Prof. Dassa noted that there are several risks and proactive factors which make youths and people to use drugs and amongst them are the personal, internal and individual risks.

He said: "The lack of personal skills such as inability to make decisions and self confident are some of the personal risk factors with which one can get addicted to drug," adding that the ECOWAS Head of States must comply with the 2008 political declaration on the prevention of drug abuse, illicit drug trafficking and organized crimes in West Africa.

"The five areas government and heads of state must lay much emphasis on is the mobilization of ECOWAS political leadership, developing and adopting legal frameworks for effective criminal justice, addressing increasing drug abuse and associated health problems, enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement cooperation and have valid and reliable data to monitor magnitude of drugs cases," Prof. Dassa.

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